EWWW! The Connections Between Disgust and Morality

What if our moral judgments are simply that a situation makes us feel like throwing up?

Drake Bennett explores some of the new research and thinking in how our moral ideas may have evolved from our more visceral feelings of disgust in Ewwwwwwwww! The surprising moral force of disgust.

The moral emotions model has another radical implication as well. It means morality is not, as the Buddha and St. Augustine said, a way to curb our animal desires: It’s simply an outgrowth of that same animal nature.

The origins of disgust are mysterious. But so are the origins of morality. Both are partly through biological selection and partly as a taught behavior.

The facial expression triggered by disgust is also a social cue: “a visible signal of disgust at both bodily and behavioral transgressions, and an unmistakable warning to the transgressors themselves.”

I think there were lots of “that smells bad” looks last week after the Mark Hurd/H-P brouhaha.

Image of mushroom 6 smells bad! is by Amy.